NEWRY — Sunday River Ski Resort announced Tuesday morning that its parent company, Boyne Resorts, will invest $5.7 million in improvements for the 2013-14 season.
These will include more snow-making, a new 15-acre terrain park trail, a renovated and enlarged hotel restaurant, roadwork into The Glades at Ridge Run, an outdoor wedding venue, and lodging upgrades to Grand Hotels and resort condominiums, spokeswoman Darcy Morse said in a news report.
“These capital investments support Sunday River’s long-term vision for the resort and were determined in part from input from our guests and community,” Dana Bullen, resort president and general manager at Sunday River, said.
“We strive to continue improving upon the experience we deliver to our guests and creating a unique sense of place that will help grow not only our resort but the entire region.”
These are projects that wouldn't be possible without the commitment and support of Boyne Resorts; CNL Properties Inc. and Sunday River homeowners, Bullen said. Boyne manages the Newry resort for CNL.
The resort is coming off one of its better seasons, thanks in part to conducive winter temperatures and plenty of natural snow right when it was needed, Morse said.
"We had an awesome season," she said. "It seemed like the planets aligned, what with snowstorms taking place right before big holidays."
This summer, Sunday River will install 200 new energy-efficient snow guns manufactured by HKD Snowmakers, Morse said.
That doesn't mean the resort intends to open in September, a month earlier than usual.
"If Mother Nature gave us the green light to make snow in September, we probably would," Morse said.
As part of the resort’s commitment to improved snow-making, Sunday River began converting its older snow-making equipment to HKD SV10 Impulse snow guns in 2010.
Last year, the resort installed 300 SV10s, which allowed it to pump nearly five times the amount of water in November than it did in the same time period in 2011, all while using 50 percent less energy, Morse said.
Trails being considered for the new SV10s include: Lollapalooza, Excalibur, Rogue Angel, Airglow, Black Hole, Vortex, Risky Business, American Express and the resort’s new terrain park trail.
Terrain park trail
The resort will begin earthwork required to build a 15-acre terrain park trail this summer. It includes the earthen sub-base for an 18-foot Superpipe.
Based on an ideal pitch for freestyle terrain and a straight fall line, the trail will measure 200 feet wide and 2,300 feet long. The trail's upper elevation will be 1,970 feet, while the lower elevation will be 1,260 feet for a vertical drop of 710 feet.
This trail — to be named at a later date — will be designed in partnership with Simon Dumont, an X Games medalist and 2014 Olympic hopeful, Morse said.
The new terrain park trail will be located on North Peak between the Dream Maker and 3D trails. It is a site recommended to the resort by Snow Park Technologies, Morse said. It will be serviced directly by the North Peak Express and Chondola high-speed lifts.
Once completed, this new terrain park trail will replace the current Rocking Chair Terrain Park and Superpipe on Barker and Locke mountains. It will also become the new site of Simon Dumont’s signature event — the Dumont Cup, she said.
Hotel restaurant renovation
This spring, Sunday River will begin to renovate its Legends Restaurant and reconfigure it to meet the resort’s growing demands for additional event space, Morse said.
This project will create 300-plus restaurant seats in a single space by combining the existing Legends Restaurant with conference space located within the same area of the Grand Summit Hotel.
On completion, the new restaurant will use approximately 5,500 square feet and will be able to transition from an intimate restaurant to a larger event space as needed.
To accompany the look of the new space, the resort will also revisit the name, menu, and overall brand of the restaurant, announcing any changes later this fall when the makeover is completed, Morse said.
New wedding ceremony site
During the summer and fall months, Sunday River hosts multiple wedding parties each weekend on the Sliders deck area at the Jordan Grand Hotel, she said.
To meet the growing demand for outdoor space, the resort will create a new outdoor wedding venue slopeside adjacent to the Jordan Grand.
This new venue will feature a gazebo and landscaping, and allow couples to take advantage of the resort’s alpine setting with views of the Jordan Bowl, Morse said.
It's anticipated to be ready this fall.
Road to The Glades at Ridge Run
Also this summer, Sunday River will begin construction on a road leading to its newest real estate development: The Glades at Ridge Run. It came on the market last summer.
The road will be approximately 1,000 feet long and will start off the Broadway entrance to the South Ridge Townhomes.
Two of the five single-family home lots are already under contract with construction of both to begin this summer. Road completion is set for later this summer.
History at a glance
To date, Sunday River has benefited from more than $35 million in capital enhancements since joining the Boyne Resorts family back in 2007.
These improvements include a Chondola lift, night skiing, snow-making upgrades, hotel enhancements, and resort activities, including geocaching, zip line tours, twin zips, and last summer’s additions of a bungee trampoline and nine-hole disc golf course.
Morse said the resort will close for the season Sunday, April 21. That's its Ski Mania Day, on which free skiing and riding will be offered in the Barker Mountain area.